“Take a journey through time and genres to discover stories where queer teens live, love and shape the world around them.
“Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens. From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten.”
I’m not really a ‘short story person’, only picking up short story collections when I love the author, or when the theme really appeals to me. I found All Out irresistible because of its combination of historical, LGBTQIA+, and Young Adult fiction, and I was not disappointed.
All the stories are enjoyable and well-written, but I particularly liked the ones where the authors are especially imaginative with the brief and the source material. These are Anna-Marie McLemore, Scott Tracey, and Shaun David Hutchison’s contributions, where magic is real (and therefore dangerous), and Elliot Wake’s reimagining of Robin Hood, where all the outlaws have escaped society’s compulsory heterosexuality and gender conformity, and there’s a great twist.
There are a couple of cases of insta-love in the collection, but that’s more forgivable in a short story than a novel, as the author only has a small space to develop the characters’ feelings and capture the reader’s attention, and they can end on a high note rather than with the characters becoming increasingly disillusioned with one another over the course of a book!
All Out is an enjoyable and imaginative collection of short stories that showcases the variety of genres and topics you can find within YA. The stories cover an impressive range of time periods and places and demonstrate that although queer people aren’t visible in many traditional historical accounts, it doesn’t mean that they weren’t there.